Presented as an act of benevolence, OPEC announced Tuesday it would move to help pacify the global market from such strains as the U.S. mortgage-market crisis by increasing crude-oil output by 500,000 barrels per day starting in November.
The boosting of oil supply usually means cheaper oil prices. And, historically, such a scenario would play out negatively for the greentech sector. As oil prices drop, so do alternative-energy investments along with it.
Of course,some folks in the greentech community pooh-pooh the notion that this will happen now, saying the latest oil production hike will bear little consequence for the alternative-power sector.
"Anyone looking at green technologies isn't going to stop just because OPEC has added another half a million barrels to the world oil production," said Ehud Ronn, director of the Center for Energy Finance and Education Research.
Part of the reason is because the OPEC increase is marginal when compared to the world's overall daily oil consumption.
This doesn't mean there won't be short-term impact, said Mark Cox, CEO of the hedge fund New Energy Fund. Cox suggests that the equity market might react with some cleantech sell-off.
But when it comes to the fundamental market, such as the revenue growth based off of solar cells, and the amount of research that's being done in the cleantech sector, "I don't see those things slowing down," he said.
In fact, Cox said he's seeing signs that the greentech industry is becoming more independent from the whims of oil pricing.
"I think, increasingly, people are seeing renewable energy as the cheaper way of going about having an energy paradigm," Cox said.
While acknowledging this example isn't definitive proof, Cox said that from July to January the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, which tracks clean energy worldwide, grew 19 percent while oil prices skidded down.
In fact, OPEC's opening of the oil spigot is good news for the greentech sector, according to Robert Wilder, CEO of WilderShares, which manages several energy indices.
"[OPEC is] saying they are comfortable with oil in the $70 range," Wilder said, in reference to cost per barrel. And, with such a high price, "that makes capital more easily available to flow into solar power, wind power and biofuels," he said.
Wilder's theory is backed by evidence from Tuesday's WilderHill Clean Energy Index, which tracks U.S. clean-energy stocks. According to the index, clean-energy stocks grew 2.24 percent to close at 225.06.
Still, even if OPEC's move doesn't impact the greentech sector in a substantial way, it does highlight another fear unnerving the global markets.
According to media reports, OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri's explanation that that the increased output was to help smooth global markets fueled concern that the U.S. could be heading toward a recession.
And, if the country enters a significant recession, that's when crude oil prices might drop significantly, said Ronn, which means the greentech industry risks losing the independence it's been gaining from oil production and pricing.
But, at least at this point, Ronn said he doesn't think a recession is imminent.